Friday, March 27, 2009

Strategies for Knowing if All of Your Coupons Were Scanned

Below is a guest post from Staci. Staci is a stay at home mom of 4 adorable children under the age of 4 (making a family of 6.) Staci's home has organic food, very little meat, and incredibly healthy diet. She spends a little over $100 (each month) on groceries and saves an incredibly amount of money!!! While Staci spends very little, she is still able to come home with products that cost very little to nothing (to even moneymakers) to donate to others.
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You can see a previous guest post of her's Here, on ways she gives back to the community.

Strategies for Knowing if All of Your Coupons Were Scanned
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If shopping with kids, you might want to waiting until you are in the car and the kids are relatively calm (I often shop with my four kids who are four and under). I have tried checking the receipt in the lobby, but usually the kids get antsy and I can't think straight.
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Once in the car, my strategy is to look at the coupons section on my receipt and count and separate each group of coupons with different pen marks. For example, last time I was at the store, I bought 10 boxes of cereal with 2 different coupons each: one manufacturer and one competitor, so I made sure they had scanned all twenty of these coupons. Then, I did another deal with two coupons each, so I made sure they had scanned the two coupons for each deal (4 total coupons). I repeat this process until I have covered all of the coupons. This systems requires knowing how many different types of coupons you have and the total number of each type.
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Other potential ways to figure out if they have scanned your coupons is to either count the number of total coupons and/or add up the total savings with coupons and make sure these match your receipt. The potential downside is that it would be harder to figure out which specific coupon did not scan, which makes getting your money back mo re challenging.
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If you are getting only stuff for which you have coupons and you know all of the prices of your items, you can calculate your expected total grocery bill. This strategy works well if you are buying a minimal amount of different types of items. The problem with this strategy is often that the prices are a little different than expected, but it does help to have a ballpark figure if you have the time.
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If you do find a problem, go to customer service and let them know that they missed one of your coupons. I frequently find problems and always get reimbursed at Publix (sometimes after a lot of patience). One time, they missed a dollar off coupon, and once reimbursed, I bought six more cans of tomato sauce using that dollar and a combination of sales and coupons.
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If you are at a drug store with a smaller transaction, you can always offer to return everything and buy the items again using the coupons that you had intended to use.
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Thanks, Staci for sharing your tricks!

4 comments:

Jess said...

Staci, maybe you can give us some hints! My partner and I try to eat organic and relatively healthy too, and I feel like coupons are of relatively little use to us. Seems like most of our efforts to be healthier/more natural result in buying less boxed/canned/etc food - and I don't really find coupons for fresh produce or meats. (The store I tend to shop at doesn't have store coupons...maybe that's the problem?) Obviously though, you're getting some awesome couponage, to feel that many people on such a small budget. Any hints??

The Duggar Family said...

Here are a few tips:
1. Eat ALL of the food you buy. This strategy will save you the most money and is best for the environment.
2. When something healthy goes on sale and there is a coupon available to make it cheap, free, or more than free, buy A LOT of that item. Freeze what you don't need.
3. Make all of your food from scratch, including bread.
4. Figure out which store has the best price on the individual items you buy.
5. Get all of your toiletries and cleaning products for free or more than free using the systems at WAGS and CVS.
6. Before shopping for more food, use the food you already have first unless the food that you are buying is a great deal.
7. Grow your own fruit and veggies when possible.
8. Do not go shopping unless you have a plan to buy at least one item for a great price. While there, buy your staples if you need them.
9. I do not eat meat, but my husband and children do occasionally. Most of the meat comes from local farms and hunting expeditions. It is healthy, organic, and free.
10. Check frugalcouponliving.com daily for deals.
Staci

Jennifer said...

You mention that you use 10-20 coupons for a particular item. How do you get so many coupons? Is it legal to photocopy internet coupons? Do you receive that many papers?
Jennifer
hughes_jenniferl@yahoo.com

The Duggar Family said...

I get my coupons in various ways. Twenty coupons would be ten manufacturer and ten competitor or ten store coupons. Most of the manufacturer coupons that work for me are internet coupons. Our family business has a bunch of computers so I can usually get ten or twelve coupons (two per computer). It is not legal to copy coupons. I do get three copies of the Sunday paper per week from family and a friend, but I rarely use those. I also network with friends to get extra coupons. You can usually get unlimited copies of store coupons at the store and unlimited competitor coupons on the internet.
Staci